Growing up my Dad always taught me and my sister that you have to give without expecting anything in return. And over the years we got to see many examples of my parents giving and being kind without the expectation of something back. Sometimes it was really hard to witness their giving because people didn’t return the kindness, but regardless my Dad always made it clear what the rules were around giving.
So where does generosity come from? Are we naturally born with it and it’s just in our DNA? Is it a learned behavior? Perhaps something that we do out of necessity after conducting ourselves in an opposite fashion?
I believe that it can, and is, all of the above. And to be honest, I’m not sure it matters how we learn to be kind, but more important is the fact that we DO learn to be kind (and we put it into practice).
There are a lot of nice people out there … the world is full of nice people. But it is a little less often that I meet someone who is truly generous and who is giving in a significant way … Never mind those that employ the “give without expectations” rule. But lately I’ve begun to work with a group of people where this sense of enormous giving is leading them in business and in life, and it’s so exciting to be around. And these are people that are not just doing it every once in awhile … but who are seriously walking around every day providing generosity to others (without the slightest expectation of something in return).
When I was talking with someone today about it – someone who was demonstrating this enormous giving, I asked if it was a Pay it Forward model and he said “Oh no, it’s bigger than that”. Bigger than Pay it Forward I thought?!? Really?
He said it’s about selflessness and generosity in a way that is beyond just the Pay it Forward model. What he said is that we have to “give without expecting anything in return … and if you can help, then you should”.
That’s a pretty big statement don’t you think – If you can help, then you should. How many people do you know like that? How many give for the sake of giving and who care about helping the larger community, with only the hope that others will be selfless and do the same? Probably a lot less than the people who you come across that portray the opposite behaviors.
I have met a lot of people who wish for a lot of things and feel they have received the short end of the stick in life … and a lot of non-believers that the Universe really can provide that which we need and deserve. And while I of course am only one person with a theory (and a Dad who taught me an important lesson at an early age) I say why not try it?! Why not try to give selflessly … give generously … give without expecting anything in return … and if you find yourself in a situation where you can help – give because you should. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
I would venture to say that more good will come out of it than bad.
P.S. Thanks to the person who inspired this blog post today – he reminded me of the lesson that my Dad instilled in me many years ago – and a lesson I’m proud to say I have implemented throughout my life and will continue to do so without any signs of slowing down.